Wow, this Singaporean is an amazing quizzer
A Singaporean student in London is getting to be quite a legend among those who follow a UK quiz programme called University Challenge.
Maximilian Zeng was on the Imperial College team when it outclassed King’s College 235-50 last month.
His particular strength is geography, where he took a set of questions involving a map of India with a city indicated but the state borders removed.
He had to name the city and the state of which it is the capital. He named not only Chennai, Tamil Nadu, and Kolkata, West Bengal, but also lesser known Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, and even Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.
Here are a few of the admiring comments below a YouTube video of the quiz.
“You can drop Zeng in the middle of the Pacific, he'll still know the way home.”
"If only we had Zeng on our team. - A quote by every quiz team in history.”
“It must be disheartening to go against Imperial when you know Zeng will be good for at least about 60 points automatically. There were slightly more geography questions than normal tonight, so it was actually more like 100 (without even mentioning the non-geography questions he got).”
"Frodo would have an easier path to Mordor if Zeng was by his side…"
"Rumour has it that Google Map confers with Zeng before any map inclusions."
In an interview with Channel NewsAsia though, Zheng said: “I hate Google Maps. I have OpenStreetMap open constantly.”
He spoke about his love of geography and his fascination with maps from a very young age.
“It's kind of a ... fixation. I have very little of a social life. So I have a very restricted set of interests. I just think of maps all day,” he said.
Zeng, a former Hwa Chong Institution student, now 22 and in his third year at university, is not actually studying geography.
His main academic interests are linguistics and anthropology he said, adding that he's “more interested in the cultural side of geography”.
Later on in the contest, his opponents, the King’s College team, got the question in the photo below.
They had earlier correctly identified Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of Iran and were getting bonus questions on other long-serving national leaders
When this photo came up they tried to decide between Indonesia and Singapore and eventually chose the latter.
The correct answer is of course Cambodia, as that is Mr Hun Sen.
One of the comments said: “As a Singaporean, I am certain Zeng was laughing his socks off internally.”
Here's the video: